It’s common knowledge that law is an oversaturated job market. As it is, there are far more graduating law students than there are available entry-level positions. Well-educated and well-credentialed graduates often find themselves in the unenviable position of battling for recognition and employment. According to a 2015 article in the New York Times, just 60% of law school graduates from the class of 2014 had found jobs in the field ten months after leaving school. Law is a difficult field to break into; if you truly want to make a living by practicing it, you need to push yourself above the pack by developing key skills. If you don’t, you may miss out on career opportunities, fail to garner clients, and lose out on the salary you want. Here, I list the six skills that you should develop and hone as soon as you can.
The television shows have it wrong; lawyers spend far more time in the library than they do in glitzy boardrooms. The ability to analyze texts is a key skill of any legal professional. You will be reading a lot, and if you can’t pull out the important details and understand how to apply them, you will be far behind your competitors.
Attention to Detail
Law hinges on small details. When you take on a case, make sure that you understand it inside and out. You will need to research related laws down to the lettering, and be careful in your understanding of it. Legal decisions are by and large rooted in the interpretation of legal language, so knowing a key detail could make the difference between winning a case and watching to fall apart.
If you can consistently build a waterproof argument around your case, you will make a name for yourself as a reliable and thorough professional. In order for your case to make sense, it has be connected from beginning to end. Don’t leave gaps of logic or assume that your reader will come to your conclusions when you write a case. Be explicit, and lay out everything in as much detail as possible.
The income you draw in your position depends on your ability to win cases. The soundest case will fall flat without a decent delivery – and without the ability to persuade, anything you try to do will fall flat. Learn how to understand what motivates people and use this understanding to persuade them to your side of the argument.
People always expect lawyers to have great judgment. This is especially true for your clients. If you don’t have good judgment, you can’t expect them to want to follow you. Make sure to look at situations from all angles to develop this skill.
If you have trouble writing, now is the time to fix it. Writing is a critical part of your role as a lawyer. From drafting briefs to creating cases, using the written word will serve you well.
When it comes to being a lawyer, there are many challenges you will face. However, you can be better prepared for them by utilizing the skills above. Make them yours by studying and practicing them every day. Then, sit back and relax as your income and reputation increase more and more.